TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. issued the following statement Monday in response to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test claiming Native Heritage:

“A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation. Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is proven. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”

  • Chuck Hoskin, Jr., Secretary of State for the Cherokee Nation

“This is an important concept to underscore: words have meaning. Just because someone chooses to self-identify as something (male/female, Native American/White, Republican/Democrat, etc.), that self-identification is not the measure of qualification. We believe that the First Amendment’s guarantee of Freedom of Association gives Organizations (such as the Cherokee Nation, as well as religious organizations and political parties) the Right to define membership in and affiliation with their organization. Anyone who circumvents an organizations Right to define what it means to be a member or representative of that group should not be considered to be a member of that group, let alone representative of it. Rather, they are an insurgent to that group and should not have any standing therein.”

  • Joe Levi, President, Utah Republican Native American Caucus and member of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah

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